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EarthFare Vegan-baking-Demo Handout 12-13-2012

EarthFare Vegan-baking-Demo Handout 12-13-2012

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Published by Huntsville Vegans

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Published by: Huntsville Vegans on Dec 23, 2011
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Mike Cross and Huntsville Vegans present:
Cruelty-free Holiday Sweets: Vegan Baking
Huntsvilleveg@gmail.com Page
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Before You Bake
Demystifying Vegan Baking
To someone who’s never done much cooking, baking can seem a bit mysterious, the oven actingas a transformation chamber for unfamiliar doughs or liquids or whatever lumpy thing to afinished product that looks, smells, and tastes like the comforting treats we know well. Sincebaked treats light up that nostalgic part of our brains, it can seem like messing with traditionalmethods will make things turn out wrong. I contend that there are some ingredients that we’rebetter off avoiding completely. They’re not necessary for baking, and they’re especially notnecessary for us: milks, creams, eggs, all these heavy products made from animals don’t justharm the animals that are used to produce them, they harm humans with cholesterol, saturatedfat, hormones, antibiotics, engineered genes, pesticides, diseases, and even heavy metals.Animal agriculture is the single greatest cause of atmospheric pollution, deforestation, andwater contamination on the planet, and it all happens because we humans keep buyingproducts that take incredible amounts of resources, products subsidized with taxpayer money,that we don’t need and are just awful for us. It’s not hard to opt out of all that awfulness, andmake our hearts feel sweet. It’s an even sweeter deal for us when there are delicious ways tocook that don’t involve making anyone, human or not, suffer just for our momentary diningpleasure.
The Binding Question: Eggs and Egg Alternatives
The most common question that comes up with vegan baking is how exactly to account for eggsin items that might usually contain them. The reason people have used eggs in baking is simple:they are used to provide structure and binding when cooked. Let’s think about a cake: Theprotein in the eggs binds with the flour and other ingredients, and then as the temperatureincreases while baking, the whole mixture rises. When moisture drops and the internaltemperature increases enough, the proteins harden and hold the spongy texture that’s familiarwith cake, even after the temperature drops. The important thing to know is, it’s not just eggsthat can provide this binding effect. There are plenty of reasons not to use eggs in your baking,not the least of which is that a chicken endures nightmarish conditions to produce each andevery egg, even for so-called “free range” or “organic” eggs.There are simple alternatives for just about every baking application. These alternatives cost lessthan eggs, aren’t unhealthy (and in fact are *very* healthy), and don’t have the environmentalimpact of chicken eggs. Another benefit you might not notice until you try some baked itemswithout eggs, is that baking with eggs (or butter!) gives foods a smell that can conflict with theintended flavor. Vegan bakeries keep doing great on those Food Network bake-off shows and ina way they have an unfair advantage: non-vegan bakers keep using eggs,
 just because.
It’straditional to use them, so that’s what they do. Eggs add a tiny bit of sulphur smell and flavor tothings (there’s even a spice called “black salt” used in India to make things taste eggy, which is just sulphur-infused salt). A single egg yolk contains 210 milligrams of cholesterol.There are many egg alternatives that work great for different applications. The ones I like to usethe most often are flax meal and silken tofu. Sometimes I’ll try a starch mixture, especially if Iwant something cakey. Super-simple “egg” recipes:
 
Mike Cross and Huntsville Vegans present:
Cruelty-free Holiday Sweets: Vegan Baking
Huntsvilleveg@gmail.com Page
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Flax: For each egg to replace, add 1 Tbs of golden or regular ground flax meal to 3 Tbswarm water. Stir, and allow it to sit for at least five minutes. It’ll form a soft gel-likemass.Silken tofu: Don’t make the mistake of trying to use regular tofu in your baking! Thereare some recipes that call for regular tofu for baking (like tofu “ricotta” in lasagna) butusually you’re going to want to use silken tofu. It comes in small sealed cardboard“tetra” boxes. If you find some at a good price and want to stock up, I suggest gettingthe “extra firm” variety, unless you want to use it mainly for smoothies, in which case gofor Firm or softer. ¼ cup of silken tofu should work great.Starches: A mixture of arrowroot powder and tapioca starch can act as a really goodbinder, 1 tsp arrowroot + 1 Tbs Tapioca starch + water or mashed fruit, like ripe bananasor applesauce. Try experimenting with different combinations of these—a particularmethod may be best suited to a particular baked item.You’d think from cooks like Paula Deen that butter is an essential nutrient, but there are goodreasons to avoid it. Butter is 63 percent saturated fat and 1 tablespoon has 30 milligrams of cholesterol. Cholesterol is ONLY found in animal products, so switching to plant-derived fats andoils will have an immediate and significant positive health impact. It’s very easy to replace inbaking—oils like canola or light olive oil or coconut oil cover just about every application. For afew items there are plant-based shortenings specifically made for baking. One popular brand isEarth Balance. Use the same volume of a plant-based oil or shortening as you would butter.
Recipes
Vegan Flaky Pie Crust
 
Making your own pie crust is time consuming, but a homemade crust tastes about 23 timesbetter than a store-bought one. You can make multiple batches and freeze the rest for later use.Home made pie crust has that irresistible flakiness and gives you the satisfaction of knowingthat you made the whole pie. This vegan Flaky Pie Crust recipe can be used for any pastry suchas pop tarts, turnovers, English pasties or anything else you'd like to envelop in tender, flakygoodness.In a pie crust the goal is tenderness and flakiness. This is achieved by a high level of fat and a lowlevel of water. The Vegan Butter in this recipe breaks into small pieces, coating the flour andinhibiting gluten from forming. The shortening is cut into larger pieces so it doesn't break downas much when it's cut into the flour. This is so the shortening forms thin layers as the dough isrolled. These thin layers catch evaporating water as the crust bakes which causes the crust toform thin, flaky layers similar to what's found in puff pastry.This pie crust is adapted from
Cook's Illustrated's
famous vodka pie crust which takes crusts tothe next level. The result is a dough that's easier to work with and more tender and flaky thantraditional pie crusts. The vodka allows the dough to feel more moist so it's easier to roll, cutand form. The gluten in the flour doesn't bind in the presence of ethanol so the crust ends up
 
Mike Cross and Huntsville Vegans present:
Cruelty-free Holiday Sweets: Vegan Baking
Huntsvilleveg@gmail.com Page
3
of 
7
 
being more tender. The alcohol cooks off so don't worry- your pie crust won't taste like alcoholbut it will seem extra moist while you're working with it. This is by design. Don't worry about thequality of the vodka you use. 80 proof vodka is 60% water and 40% alcohol. Just remember:don't drink and roll. If you really aren't able to use vodka then change the water content of thisrecipe to 6 to 8 Tablespoons total.Ingredients:
 
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour2 Tablespoons sugar1 teaspoon salt¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) cold Regular Vegan Butter or non-hydrogenated stick margarine, cut into ¼inch cubes½ cup (1 stick) cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces¼ cup cold water3 Tablespoons cold vodkaDirections:1) In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a fork or pastry blender,cut the Vegan Butter and shortening into the flour until mixture resembles coarse sand. Takeextra caution that you don't over mix.2) Drizzle half of the chilled water and vodka over the mixture then gently toss using yourfingers. Drizzle the other half in and toss again. Now use the open palm of your hand to pressdown the dough to compress it. Break up the dough with your fingers and compress it again. Cutthe dough in half inside the bowl with a spatula.3) Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap, compress it to a 4 inch disc and chill in therefrigerator for at least one hour. This dough can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months forlater use.If you're working in extremely hot weather conditions, don't be afraid to put things in thefreezer for a few minutes while you're working. The goal is to have a cool crust go into a hotoven so the crust 'pops' from the pockets of fat and water. This is what makes a flaky crust.4) Cut two pieces of parchment paper to 12 inch by 12 inch size. Rolls of parchment paper forhome use are 12 inches long so you can use the box as a ruler. Unwrap one of the dough disks,place the dough on a sheet of parchment paper and cover it with the other sheet of parchmentpaper. Roll the dough out from the center until it goes out to the edges of the parchment paper.Remove the top layer of parchment paper and carefully flip the dough over into a pie plate. Nowremove the other piece of parchment paper and form the dough to the pie plate. Gently lift thepie crust with one hand and push it into the plate with the other hand. Don't worry if you haveto patch the pie crust; this is normal. It's easily patched and repaired by lightly wetting each partto be joined with water then grafting on an extra piece of dough. Once it comes out of the oven,your repairs won't be too noticeable. When I work with pastry crusts I usually have a pastrybrush and a glass of water on hand so I can easily wet the dough with the brush and patch it

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